Posted: Sunday, July 22nd 2012 at 11:51pm
Skinns closes strong to take NGA victory at Achasta
David Skinns, right, claimed the NGA TOUR Classic at Achasta presented by Ace Wiring Systems on Sunday in Dahlonega.
DAHLONEGA -- David Skinns fired a final-round 63 in the NGA Tour Classic at Achasta presented by Ace Wiring Systems on Sunday to edge Patrick Wilkes-Krier and Mark Silvers by one stroke for this third win of the season.
“It’s a great feeling to be playing like this,” said Skinns, who finished with a 22-under 262 total. “I’m hitting ball significantly better than I was last year, and I’ve been a lot more consistent.”
That consistency paid off this week.
After the tournament record was set and reset over the first three rounds, Skinns, a former University of Tennessee All-American, stayed in touch with the leaders by carding rounds of 65, 66 and 68. However, the 2008 NGA Player of the Year would need to turn up the wick on Sunday to catch the leaders – and he did just that.
Skinns started the final round trailing third round leader Silvers by four shots and didn’t make much headway until picking up a birdie on No. 4. But once the lid was off the cup, Skinns didn’t slow down, picking up birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 7 and turning in 31.
“I missed a four-foot putt for birdie on the third hole,” said Skinns, “but I hit some much better putts after that and got on a roll, which is what I needed.”
Skinns added a birdie on No. 10 and birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 15 to get to 8-under par for the day and 22-under par for the tournament. Silvers and Wilkes-Krier both had a chance to send the event into a playoff, but neither could convert their birdie tries on the final hole of regulation, giving Skinns his seventh career NGA TOUR victory.
“When you’re on a roll like this, you go to the course thinking about winning the tournament rather than just playing well,” said Skinns, who tied Steve Ford, Andy Morse and Ted Potter Jr. for third on the all-time wins list.
In addition to the $22,000 winner’s check, Skinns of Lincoln, England, also earned an event exemption into the Web.com Tour’s Knoxville News Sentinel Open for the victory, courtesy of the NGA TOUR.
“It’s a great that NGA TOUR allows us to win these exemptions,” said Skinns. “Everyone out here is trying to jump to the next level, and I’m excited about the exemption. I’ve been playing well on the NGA TOUR and I think that will carry over into the Knoxville Open.”
If Skinns can earn $32,000 in the Knoxville Open, he will secure status for the rest of the season on the Web.com Tour. And if he doesn’t, his third victory on the NGA TOUR puts him squarely in the NGA TOUR Player of the Year race.
“I’m not thinking about [the Player of the Year],” said Skinns, who pushed his season winnings to nearly $100,000. “That’s something that comes from playing well and will take care of itself. It would be a cherry on top of my season, but I’m not going to dwell on it.”
Savannah’s Silvers, who shot a tournament record 60 in the second round, started the final round with the outright lead and picked up two birdies over his first six holes on Sunday. But after going 50 holes without a bogey, the University of South Carolina alumnus played Nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12 in 2-over par, going bogey, bogey, birdie and bogey. Silvers, who earned his first NGA TOUR victory earlier this season, battled back with back-to-back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 15, but he came up one shot shy of forcing extra holes.
Sam Ryder(66), Phillip Choi (69), Chris Naegel (65), Timothy O’Neal (64) and Brandon Brown (66) finished T4 at 19-under par, while Cedric Scotto and Mike Stern finished T9 at 18-under par.
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